The ability to read accurately and fluently is essential for succeeding at school.  Most children will learn to read through whatever method they are taught, however several children struggle with the reading process.

Westwood (2001) presents a number of studies that estimate at least 16% and maybe even as high as 25% of children are reading at a level below their chronological age or grade at school.  Some children only improve their reading by a few months each year, instead of the expected 12 month gain, despite normal intelligence, skilful teaching at school and intensive learning support or tuition.  After a few years, it becomes apparent to parents that despite everything they are doing to help, their child is one or two years behind their peers and is falling further behind.

Reading accuracy and reading comprehension are highly reliant on the child’s:

  • Intact Phonological Awareness skills (e.g., awareness of sounds, words, rhyme and syllables) – these are Pre-Literacy skills and should start to develop as early as 3 -4 years of age
  • Sound to Letter correlations
  • Intact auditory and visual memory skills
  • Intact working memory
  • Ability to recognise and recall sounds, letters and words
  • Ability to store new words into long term memory

Deficits in any of these areas can lead to difficulties with your child’s reading.

If you suspect your child has a reading difficulty you should contact a Speech Pathologist for an assessment.

Why Speech Pathology?


Speech Pathologists are specialists in diagnosing WHY your child is having literacy difficulties.  They are trained at university in how to assess, diagnose and treat reading delays/disorders.  Your Speech Pathologist will conduct a thorough assessment and integrate these results with reports from other specialists or your child’s school.  Based on the findings and your child’s age, your Speech Pathologist will be able to recommend a suitable treatment program to suit your child’s needs.  These programs could include:

  • Under 8 years – STARS Programmes (see
  • Over 8 years – Cellfield Program (see



Phonological Awareness difficulties can be assessed in the second half of Prep and treated by a Speech Pathologist before your child commences school and starts a cycle of failure with reading.

If you have concerns about your child’s reading development or you just want to be sure, contact Tyquin Group on (07) 3399 8028 to arrange an assessment.

Westwood, P (2001).  Reading and Learning Difficulties: Approaches to Teaching and Assessment. London: David Fulton Publishers